September is an awareness month for a few things close to our heart at Bliss. It is Menopause awareness month, Sexual Health month and it is also the month of Women’s Health Week. After a slow start to the month because the dreaded viruses of winter went through our office we are going to be talking about sex and menopause.
Menopause is an important women’s health issue that is still shrouded in silence. Add sex into the conversation and things get taboo.
This is the first article about menopause and sex, a catalyst for this important conversation.
It is important to know if you are having a problem with sexual function during menopause, there is a very good chance it is not in your head and you are not alone.
1. Younger women and older women can go through menopause and sex is still something they want in their lives.
2. Women of all ages value their sexuality, including women with cancer or other health issues, women that are going through or have gone through menopause, women who don’t have a partner.
Remember safe sex is important at any age.
3. It is OK to ask your doctor about a sexual function concern or problem, yes even when you are making decisions about medical treatments.
4. If your doctor is not comfortable talking about sexual issues with you ask them to refer you onto a professional that is.
5. You understand the importance of self-care for your physical and mental health.
Please remember the strategies for sexual self-care are important for your sexual health and they include using moisturisers and lubricants.
6. Vaginal dilators can help with painful intercourse due to a tight bulbocavernosus muscle and so can a pelvic physical therapist.
An assessment by a pelvic floor therapist and consulting with your medical professional should be your first port of call before you try any new product such as a dilator.
7. The bulbocavernosus muscle is a muscle around the opening of the vagina that is key to comfortable sex for all women. A pelvic physiotherapist can help you learn where this muscle is and do a pelvic floor assessment to let you know your best course of action.
8. When it comes to keeping your vulva and vagina clean, less is more and you can read more here. Think about your vulva and vagina like your eyeballs, they have a good self-cleaning system. You don’t put soap in your eyes so don’t put it on your vulva or in your vagina.
9. Sex after menopause should be good, we do not age out of good sex.
If you came to menopause due to cancer or another medical condition don’t let anyone tell you or make you think that you should be grateful to be alive or have your health back and that sex is not important.
10. If sex function and sexuality are important to you it needs to be important to your health practitioners.
11. There are health benefits to pleasurable consensual touch, for every body, no matter your age or health status.
You are not alone and there are professionals that are able to help you. It can be hard for people to talk about sex. If you are having issues it is not something that you have to go through in silence, there are professionals that can help you.